West Ham United U18s 3-2 Norwich City U18s
West Ham United continue to climb the FA Premier Academy League Group A table following a 3-2 victory over Norwich City.
The Hammers are up to fourth in the standings after recording their sixth win in seven matches courtesy of goals from Robert Hall and Matthias Fanimo and a maiden strike from January signing Paul McCallum.
West Ham moved within two points of new leaders Arsenal and second-placed Southampton - who were beaten by south coast rivals Portsmouth - with another entertaining display at Little Heath.
England Under-17 international forward Hall put the hosts ahead when the home side broke out from a Norwich corner. Blair Turgott ran from one penalty area to the other with the ball before slipping the ball to Hall, who lifted his shot over the goalkeeper and into the net.
The second goal also arrived before half-time when Hall chased a long clearance out of defence before laying the ball into the path of Fanimo, who finished confidently from just inside the penalty area.
Norwich halved the deficit before the break, but West Ham were not to be denied their seventh league win of the season.
Fanimo was involved again, doing some good work before finding substitute Elliot Lee, whose shot was parried into the path of McCallum. The former Dulwich Hamlet striker made no mistake from close-range.
Although Norwich again pulled a goal back with ten minutes remaining, West Ham had plenty of chances to add to their lead, with Dominic Vose, Fanimo and Turgott all passing up decent opportunities.
Academy Director Tony Carr MBE was pleased with his side's performance and the result they achieved against a strong Norwich team.
"Overall, we deserved the win," Carr told whufc.com "We have now scored three goals in each of our last four matches. We have conceded six, but four of them were in one game against Southampton, so I'm pleased with the way we're attacking and with the way we're defending.
"Since the Christmas break, the boys have got into a good stride and even in the two games we have lost, to Manchester United the FA Youth Cup and to Southampton, we have played very well and could easily have won them.
"We have got ten league matches remaining and we are finishing the season strongly. Hopefully we will continue to improve.
"As long as we keep improving and playing like we have been recently, we will keep climbing the league and you never know what might happen if the teams above us slip up."
West Ham face another important match this coming Saturday when they travel to third-place Crystal Palace. The Eagles are just a point above West Ham after losing 2-0 at home to Arsenal last weekend. Kick-off at Palace's Beckenham training ground is at 11am.
West Ham United U18: Wootton, Young, Potts, Sanchez, Hunt, Turgott, Vose, Moncur, Fanimo (Purdy 75), Hall (E.Lee 70), McCallum (Tombides 75)